What is USTEP?

Are you thinking of applying to the College of Arts and Science, but your marks fell short of the entrance requirements? Do you want comprehensive support during your first year, and a tight-knit community of other students to study with? The College of Arts and Science's University of Saskatchewan Transition Entrance Program – USTEP may be just what you need!

USTEP provides a supportive learning environment that helps students overcome common first-year university challenges. Students in the program can register in a maximum of 18 credit units per year or nine credit units per semester through the College of Arts and Science.

Who should apply

  • Students under 21 whose high school grades do not represent their academic potential

How to apply

  • Submit an application to the University of Saskatchewan online: Application for Admission  
  • Select “USTEP” when prompted to choose program
  • Arrange submission of your final high school transcript and any final post-secondary transcripts if you have attended any other post-secondary institutions

Minimum academic requirements for admission

Five subjects with the highest grades will be used to calculate an admission average:
  • One Grade 12 English
  • One Grade 12 Math
  • Three other Grade 12 subjects with highest grades

USTEP – 18 Credit Units

USTEP courses that make up the 18 required credit units in the program are offered in a Learning Communities Model. A learning community is a small group of first-year students who take classes together and share some common interests. Arts and Science learning communities are designed to ease the transition into university by providing our first-year students with valuable opportunities to make friends, study and explore ideas together, and to develop the academic and personal skills to achieve their goals.

USTEP students gather in a weekly USTEP Hour led by two senior student peer mentors who facilitate sessions on study skills, goal setting and stress management; help students access academic, health, and other support services; and organize information sessions and social events. Today's peer mentors and many campus student leaders started university in a learning community, where they developed the friendships, confidence and skills that set them apart.

USTEP Sign-Up is Closed for 2022-23 Learning Communities

The January 2023 Jumpstart LC is still open, email: ustep@usask.ca

USTEP LC course combinations for 2023-24 will be coming in the Spring of 2023. The USTEP LC website will OPEN for sign-up on May 1st , 2023 at Noon!


Sociology 112 – Philosophy 120.3 – Psychology 121

Kickstart your first term of university in USTEP by enrolling in three courses that will ease your transition to the University of Saskatchewan. This Learning Community combines Sociology 112, a course where you will study human social life while developing an understanding of changes in social structure and human interaction on an individual, societal and global level. By taking Psychology 121, you will become familiarized with the body of knowledge, scientific theory, and research related to the major social, clinical, cultural, and developmental areas of psychology.   The courses in this LC can be used towards any Arts and Science degree. This LC is an excellent choice if you’re looking to explore your interests, sample popular first year classes, and meet degree requirements before you have decided on a degree path.

Please note: USTEP students who start their studies in the 2023 Winter term will need to continue in USTEP for the 2023 Fall Term and sign up in a 202309 USTEP Learning Community to complete USTEP.

Download schedule Sign-up with the LC Team
Revised June 11, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Access to first year university
  • Dedicated Academic Advisors
  • Access to popular first year courses
  • Weekly LC Hour with Peer Mentors
  • Small cohorts of students

Absolutely! The 18 credits units that you will take throughout the year will count towards your degree upon successful completion of your courses.

The program designed to see that first year students succeed in their transition to university life. Students under the age of 21 whose high school average is between 60% and 69% are eligible for the USTEP.

The first step for getting accepted to the USTEP is to apply to the U of S as an undergraduate, go to: https://www.usask.ca/admission/

Once you have completed the Admission Process, you will be contacted by the USTEP team and invited to an Academic Advising session (either one-on-one or a group advising session). At the Advising session you will learn more about USTEP and how to sign-up on the USTEP webpage for Term 1 and Term 2 of USTEP. Then after you sign-up the LC Team will assist you to complete your Self-Service Block Registration into your courses

Good question! The USTEP itself offers the courses within in the format of a Learning Communities Model. The USTEP refers to the entire program and the USTEP Learning Communities refers to the combinations of three courses offered along with Learning Communities Hour. There are 7 different Learning Communities combinations offered in each term.

A Learning Community (LC) is a small group of first year students (for USTEP there are 25 students in each LC) that take classes together and share common interests.

The Learning Community (LC) Hour is held once per week in each LC by successful upper year student peers, known as Peer Mentors. At the weekly LC Hour you will learn tips and tricks on how to succeed in university, build a community and strengthen your academic skills plus, make connections!

The LC hour is non-credit course and will not have any assignments.

No. Your Peer Mentors are students in their upper years of university. They facilitate your weekly sessions, some of which will focus on developing academic skills such as note-taking, study skills, exam preparation and time management. Most important, your Peer Mentors act as a resource for you as you navigate your way through your first year.

No the LC Hour is free and are non-credit courses with no tuition or fees attached.

However, you will be responsible for all tuition and fees associated with the courses in the USTEP Learning Communities you register in for Term 1 and Term 2.

Upon successful completion of the 18 credit units you have taken in the USTEP Learning Communities as well as remaining in good academic standing for a first year student, you will then move on to your second year of studies in the College of Arts & Science.

Yes, you may apply to transfer colleges upon successful completion of the USTEP. You are welcome to meet with an Academic Advisor from your prospective college of choice to discuss transferring programs and the requirements for admissions to that college here at the University of Saskatchewan.

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